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S-final - Preview: No change in Korea Republic's  approach, says Kim


Bangkok: Kim Hak-bum will continue to take the same approach he has adopted throughout the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 as he attempts to lead Korea Republic into the final with victory over Australia on Wednesday at Thammasat Stadium.

The Koreans are the only team to reach the last four with an unblemished record of four wins from the matches they have played so far and Kim sees no reason to change in the lead up to the semi-final.

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“We have been playing each match as if it’s the last match of the tournament and we will have the same approach in the next game,” he said. “I have firm faith in our players that they can deliver.”

The Koreans have managed to that so far, with wins over Uzbekistan, China PR and Islamic Republic of Iran during the group phase before Lee Dong-gyeong’s injury time free-kick earned them a 2-1 win against Jordan in the quarter-finals.

#AFCU23 - Q-final: Korea Republic 2-1 Jordan

That has set up a meeting with the Australians, a team Kim knows well after the pair faced off against each other in qualifying in Cambodia last March and in a pre-tournament friendly in Malaysia.

Both of those matches ended in draws and Kim is expecting another difficult game against Graham Arnold’s side on Wednesday, when a place in the final and a ticket for the Olympic Games in Tokyo will be on the line.

“I think Australia is a great team with a great head coach,” he said. “Their players are really agile and they are physically strong.

“We have experience of playing them in Cambodia and Malaysia before we came here so we know each other really well and from that point of view we need to work on our strengths and weaknesses to prepare for the game.

“One of the things we have to consider is the weather because it’s hot and humid and that causes fatigue. You don’t know what’s going to happen in the match.”

Kim has been determined to rotate his squad regularly to keep his players as fresh as possible, while he has also encouraged competition between the members of his team in a bid to raise the level of their performances.

With strikers Cho Gue-sung and Oh Se-hun (pictured below) both having a positive impact on the tournament, the coach is determined to keep pushing his players forward.

“Both of those strikers have different characteristics,” he said. “They deliver different things on the pitch and the healthy competition between them has helped them become better players. I want to see them do something better against our next opponent.

“It’s my job to provide an environment for the players to fulfill their roles. I have to make sure I provide that for the players.”


Player to watch

Semi-final
Australia vs Korea Republic
Venue: Thammasat Stadium
Kick-off: 20:15 (UTC +7)

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